UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA
University of California
UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA

Mustard Greens

Garden Help > Vegetables

UC Links

Red and green mustards
Red and green mustards
Pest management: Refer to the UC Integrated Pest Management website for pests of closely related crops such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower.

The Basics

Mustard is a member of the cole crop family (which includes cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, etc.). Like the others, they grow best in the cool season. Mustard comes in a variety of beautiful colors (green, red, purple) and textures (smooth, ruffled, lacy) making it very ornamental as well.

When to plant: Transplant or direct seed Feb–Apr, Sept–Oct (maybe August). If seeding for transplants, allow 4 weeks for seedlings to be ready.

Harvest window

  • A rapid grower, mustard greens are ready to harvest at 45–50 days.
  • Younger leaves are more tender and are ready to eat at 4–5 inches long.
  • You can harvest the entire plant or individual leaves. If picking individual leaves, harvest the outer leaves to let the inner leaves continue to develop.

Care overview

  • Seeds will germinate at soil temperatures as low as 40º F.
  • Thin plants to 3–4" spacing (thinned plants are excellent for salads).
  • Plant every 2 weeks for successive harvesting.
  • Plants may bolt (send up a flower stalk) in response to increasing temperatures and day length.

More links

  • Mustard Greens, University of Illinois Extension, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
  • Mustard Greens, Cornell University

Recommended Varieties for Santa Clara County*

Red Giant, OP Beautiful mustard, both ornamental and tasty. Harvest young leaves for salads or larger leaves to cook. Striking in a border. 8–24" tall. Plant 4–6" or 12–18" apart.
Ruby Streaks, OP Stunningly beautiful mustard, with feathery, ruby red leaves. Delicious in salads and stir-fries. A perfect ornamental edible. 6–12" tall. Plant 4–6" apart.
Spicy Green, Hybrid New variety from Japan developed for a tangy, hot flavor like wasabi. Pick small for mild, delicate flavor or large for robust, spicy flavor. 8–24" tall. Plant 4–6" or 12–18" apart.

Other recommended varieties: Florida Broadleaf, Mizuna, Southern Giant Curled

* Many other varieties may also do well here in Santa Clara County. This list is based on UC Master Gardener trials, taste tests, and feedback from local growers.

Webmaster Email: webmaster-mgsantaclara@ucanr.edu